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Ex-addict who stole wedding presents spared jail after 'turning life around' in Walsall

By John Scott | Walsall | Crime | Published:

A single-minded woman has saved herself from a lengthy prison sentence by turning her life around.

Ashleigh Murphy was hooked on hard drugs, living in Kent and committing crime to fund her addiction, a judge heard.

The 25-year-old, with previous convictions involving nine separate offences, and an unknown man escaped with a £3,000 vintage Honda trial motorcycle and a £2,500 mountain bike when they burgled a house in Upper Fant Road, Maidstone, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

The occupants were newlyweds settling into their home with part of the fence separating the garden from an alleyway running alongside the property so that a shed could be delivered while they were out on November 14 2018.

The devastated couple returned to find the kitchen door of the house kicked in with muddy footprints and personal items strewn throughout the property.

A £500 gift card marriage present, five watches, three debit cards and three old phones completed the burglars' haul, said Ms Fiona Cortese, prosecuting.

CCTV footage from various cameras in the area showed Murphy keeping watch outside the address, then riding the stolen bike to stores where she made five purchases totalling £86 with the contactless debit cards while four other transactions were declined, continued the prosecutor.

In May last year she decided "enough was enough," moved away from her family and the crowd she mixed with and "everything turned around for her," declared Mr Lee Masters, defending.

Determined to get her life back on track she came to the West Midlands where she knew nobody, settled in Pleck Road, Walsall and, with help from a member of a project aimed at weaning people off drugs, kicked the habit, the court heard.

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She is now a changed person who has been tested for cocaine, heroin and cannabis once every three or four days without ever giving a positive result and is training at a gym.

Judge Dean Kershaw said she would have been locked up for over a year if she had remained her old self but now she was free of the addiction realised the devastation her latest offence had caused the victims.

He gave her an eight-month jail term suspended for 18 months with 80 hours unpaid work and added: "Keep up the good work. I don't think I have ever seen a person coming off drugs give so many negative test results."

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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